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Adrian Steirn uses his passion for photography and filmmaking to raise awareness and inspire others to take action.
As founder and director of the Cape Town based Ginkgo Agency, Steirn has worked on a number of charity projetcts in Tanzania, Uganda, Ghana, Switzerland, Nepal and Azerbaijan. Collaborating with distinguished individuals such as Bill Gates, Bono, Shaquille O’Neal, Thandie Newton, Michael Parkinson and Anna Friel. Steirn was portrait photographer at the Africa Photographic Awards in 2010.
Adrian Steirn was born in Australia. He’s a graduate of Sydney Grammar School and went on to study at the University of Technology in the city. Travelling with his family as a child, Steirn’s love of Africa developed. These travels had such an influence that he moved to South Africa in 2008.
Credit:Gary Van Wyk/Ginkgo Agency
Photography and film making
Today Adrian Steirn is at the top of his field. A leading photographer and film maker who uses his work to engage with humanitarian and wildlife conservation. Through photography and film making he raises awareness, discussion and action. The WWF, the Global Fund and the Dementia Campaign use Stein’s work as the basis for campaigns.
WWF South Africa
“The planet is everybody’s responsibility. And I believe that we all need to use our particular resources and talents to do what we can to contribute to conserving it,” says Steirn.
- Partnering the WWF UK, Steirn visited Uganda in 2013. He made a film with British actress Anna Friel about the country’s mountain gorillas which documented Friel’s first encounter with gorillas and highlighted the danger posed by prospective oil exploration of the Virunga
National Park. The film became part of the WWF’s #SOSVirunga campaign. This film raised awareness and was instrumental in stopping oil exploration in the area.
- You can watch the film here
- Steirn is WWF South Africa’s photographer in residence. Using his photographic expertise, he showcases and documents South Africa’s achievements in conservation. A major contribution towards the legacy of the WWF’s work in conservation.
In 2011 Adrian Steirn documented the final weeks of Lord Philip Gould’s life in a film called: “When I die: Lessons from the Death Zone”. Steirn’s portrait of Gould can be seen at the National Portrait Gallery, London. You can watch the short film here which accompanies Gould’s book. Steirn also compiled a photographic essay, Philip Gould: A Life in Pictures.
Creator of the 21 Icons Project
The 21 Icons Project celebrates the lives of those people who have made a difference to the world and have continued the legacy of Nelson Mandela. As the creator of the project, now in its third series, Steirn has photographed and made films about Desmond Tutu, Nelson Mandela and Nadine Gordimer to name a few. Watch the films and learn more about the project by visiting the website 21icons.com
As part of the first 12 Icons series, Steirn took the last official photographic portrait of Nelson Mandela which raised US$200,000. The proceeds of sale was divided between the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital and WWF South Africa. This was a record breaking sale and the highest price paid for a photograph in South Africa!
A Complicated War…
In ‘A Complicated War’, Steirn’s use of photography documents the plight of ‘Hope’ the rhino, who was attacked by poachers. These images earned Steirn 1st Prize at the International Photography Awards and can be viewed here.
Steirn’s latest work is the Pangolin Man series
“These pangolin photos represent a beautiful insight into a tragic reality. Currently, the planet’s most trafficked mammal is the Pangolin. With all we know and all that we have learnt we have no excuse. I wanted to take photographs that would be impactful enough to ask questions, to influence people so that they would take the time to know what pangolins are and how dire their plight has become. Like many animals that we share our planet with, our participation, self control and empathy will define whether they are here with us in 20 years.” says Steirn.
Adrian Steirn is donating 10% of revenue from the Pangolin Man to The Tikki Hywood Trust. The trust raises awareness and operates good conservation practice to help pangolins and the worlds lesser known endangered species. To view the portraits click here.
Adrian Steirn and his Cape Town production company Ginkgo Agency recently launched the digital news platform Beautiful News. It delivers an inspiring story each day that reflects the goodness of the South African people and celebrates their spirit and community. Beautiful News stories are released daily at 4.14pm, to celebrate the moment, on 11 February 1990, that Nelson Mandela was released from prison. The point at which the global community joined in celebrating the ultimate Beautiful News for South Africa. Stories are published on the Beautiful News platform and distributed across News24 and 24.com. To see or submit a story to Beautiful News, visit the website, www.beautifulnews.co.za
Acclaim for the work of Adrian Steirn
Steirn’s love of narrative defines his work, using photographs and films to tell the story.
“Adrian Steirn’s photographs have an inventiveness and wit. He’s able both to perceive unusual perspectives on his subjects and (vital for a portraitist) he’s able to convince his subject to participate in his exploration. Together with this, he brings a technical mastery that is tested to its
limits by his perfectionism.” William Kentridge, South African artist.
Steirn has been a wildlife photographer for more than 15 years and consequently has the unique ability to capture “the beauty of the real Africa and its inhabitants”. Steirn has received numerous awards for his work also including overall winner of the 2010 Africa Photographic Awards.
“Adrian has a wonderful passion for our continent and her people, consequently through his photographic expertise he has the power to capture moments in time for generations to come.” As quoted by Morné du Plessis, CEO of WWF South Africa.
Adrian Steirn is ambassador for Mercedes-Benz South Africa, Gitzo and Lowepro.
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